Remote desktop sessions to your Helsinki University work computer

SnapGene running remotely

If you have a work laptop, you can take it home to do work. But what if you have a desktop computer and need to access it from home? The technology to make this possible exists for more than 20 years, but if you think that University IT has made this easy for you, you would be wrong. In fact, I don't know anybody who knows how to do this easily.


VNC (Virtual Network Computing) via ssh

I am sitting at home and want to use the GUI of my Linux at work. But my work computer which is running the VNC server ( is behind the University firewall. The only connection I can get into the firewall is via one of the university mainframes, e.g. In order to connect using VNC, I need just two commands:

ssh -L
vncviewer localhost:1

Startup script for VNC server

To start up the VNC server automatically as a service during booting, you need this shell script. You probably also can write a much simpler shell script yourself, that does the same job. In fact you will have to as this script is broken on RedHat 9. The simplest shell script is of course the command "vncserver" alone... This script goes into the folder /etc/init.d. Then you make a symbolic link in the directory /etc/rc5.d that points to the script.